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Cause to celebrate Easter and Good Friday

Madison, Wis. -- Imagine having a death sentence hanging over your head and someone else offering to die in your place as your substitute. This is what makes Good Friday so good and Easter (Resurrection Day) absolutely rock for a Christian. Christ, as a sacrificial substitute, pays in full the believer's penalty for sin! Nothing more will ever be required. Sin's penalty and guilt for the believer are totally and forever wiped out.

The Christian finds a definition of sin in the New Testament, "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4) Sin is breaking God's law and results from our tendency to live autonomously apart from Him. The consequence of sin is always separation, be it separation from others or separation of spirit and body in physical death or separation of self from God. As the prophet Isaiah has said, "Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you..." (Isaiah 59:2).

This is why a "gospel" message which simply invites you to believe, rather than "repent and believe" is no true Gospel at all because Jesus came to "save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21, emphasis mine) God wants people to take their lawless disobedience to His commands very seriously, just as He does. In Romans 1:18-20 the Apostle Paul writes, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Until the sin problem is dealt with, people are without excuse as lawbreakers and remain separated from God.

Christians believe God has turned this situation totally around. Based on the historical record of the Bible, God the Father sent His own Son to take the penalty of sin for every believer. This substitute death of the Savior (dying in the believer's place) completely satisfies God's holy wrath for sin, and at the same time demonstrates His tremendous love for the law-breaking sinner, "...that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:26) By paying the death penalty required for sin with His own blood, the Savior brings His people back into an irrevocable and inseparable right standing with the Living God.

The Apostle Paul said as much to Christians in Colossians 1:21-23, "And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him..." Reconciliation implies former hostility between the parties being reconciled. This hostility is seen more clearly by the use of the word "enemies" in Romans 5:10, "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Notice the apostle includes himself in once being in the status of God's "enemies." At the very time God had every reason to annihilate us with the rest of the lawbreaking world, He sent His son to save us.

Now you know why Good Friday and Resurrection Day are such great reasons to celebrate for the Christian.
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